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You Can Count on Me

Paul Pawlikowski

The tantalising film recounts its familiar story without ever lapsing into cliche or convention. From the first monents, when a tentative Russian arrives in England with her young son trying to find her English lover and is forced to deal with suspicious immigration officers, we are immediately drawn into the reality of the situation. Tanya’s story could be true, but she is also one of a flood of foreigners trying to enter the west with no money and no future. To further complicate matters, her lover Mark is not at the airport. Panicking, Tanya applies for political assylum. Little does she know what lies in store for her.
Taken with her son to a Designated Holding Area, Tanya is now a part of the system, and it will take months to process her application. Given a spartan temporary apartment in a highrise for other illegal immigrants, she keeps trying to contact Mark but only gets his answer machine. She decides to take a train to London and find him, but even though there are no fences , surveillance cameras follow her every escape route. She is approached by local touts involved in a cyber-sex Internet business who offer her big money for a days work, but Tanya declines. Meanwhile, her resourceful son, ever the pragmatist, has made a friend, a man who runs a local arcade. He’s not really Tanya’s type, but…
Paul Pawlikowski directs The Last Resort with a mix of documentary realism and an unobtrusive dramatic structure. His camera is beautifully observant, scene after scene is perrfectly judged, and he receives totally natural performances from a cast who seem born for thes roles. He has chosen a story that is completely affecting and crafts it with such genuine integrity that we can only marvel at his delicate touch.

U.K., 2000.
Colour.
Dolby Digital Stereo.
80 mins.

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